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How to Lead a Remote Team Successfully using the 3 T’s

Remote teams are here to stay and only going to continue to grow in use so the key for business owners and managers is how to lead a remote team!

Remote teams have some similarities to traditional teams in the office together but also some very unique differences that demand different leadership practices.

In this podcast episode I dive into the

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VIDEO: How to Lead a Remote Team Successfully

Diving into the Details: How to Lead a Remote Team Successfully

Remote work teams are the way of the future and leading them well comes down to a few keys.  I’m a firm believer in the importance of and value in communication when leading remote teams.

I’ve said it before, communication makes or breaks personal relationships…and business relationships!  Especially in this day and age of increasingly remote work teams, communication becomes paramount.  It is also DIFFERENT with remote teams!

In my last podcast episode on digital etiquette, I dove into how our written communication has limits and if we rely too much on this, it can become a dangerous issue.  The issue is that we can get sloppy with our communication digitally.  We get used to “chat” and email and if we over rely on those in communication as a remote team we can can have real issues!  As a reminder:

Gaps in Digital vs Live Communication:

  • Tone
  • Gestures
  • Volume
  • Body language
  • Context

All of these items above and more are missing in digital text communication and so the reader is left to “interpret” what we share if we do not articulate and communicate enough.  It’s said that in live in-person communication nearly 80% of the message is communicated non-verbally!

So think of that, if you are losing 80% of your total communication message in digital communication, what do you need to do to lessen this?  That’s the key!

This make is critical that you go beyond “writing” to successfully lead remote teams.  There has to be other types of “personalized” communication where you “meet” to be successful.  Let’s dive into the details…

The 3 T’s of Leading Remote Teams Successfully

The 3 T’s are Time, Tools, and Touch.  Each has a specific role to play and together they can lead to the success of remote teams.  Leading a remote team involves proactive work and planning in each of these three areas.  It is not once and done, but a continual process.

One of the dangers of remote teams is inefficiency and the isolation of the individual, and it is a leaders role to be in tune with these things and with each team member in order to help them and the team accomplish the business goals.

Let’s dive into the 3 T’s in more detail…

Time

Leaders need to have regular set times where they meet online with those they manage and often the entire team.  These can be 1-on-1 and also small team meetings.  I recommend they be regular, weekly meetings.  Regular, set times together give the remote workers a sense of consistency and belonging that is helpful.

I have set “check-in” meetings weekly with each direct team member I oversee.  These meetings can be 5 to 30 minutes long, no longer.  We try to be efficient and effective.  We have a cloud-based doc that is used to report key work items and this sets the agenda for our meeting.

Time is critical, and this needs to be face time via video conference so that tone, gestures, and all are seen.  This is the very best option for remote teams and is the closest things to a IRL meeting and handshake that you can have.

Tools

Tools are critical to the success of remote teams!  I use Google Hangouts, Zoom Video, a CRM system, and Asana for Project Management.  Tools enable the face-to-face communication via video conferencing, and they allow the team to communicate quickly via chat.  As well, tools like a CRM and Asana in the cloud enable remote collaboration.

I could go on.  We use Google Drive and the Google Suite for spreadsheets, docs, and slides.  We use Google Drive to share files, etc.  Tools are critical to the success of remote teams and enable the online communication to be enhanced.

Touch

“Touch” in the remote work team world is not physical but is virtual.  In person video meetings are critical for remote team workers to feel connected and to have a sense of being part of something.  Video conferencing is not a “if” but a “must” in this case as it is the most significant way to “touch” a team member.  As noted, this should be weekly and yet it is not just a once and done.

Informal video chats during the week for 5 minutes can really go a long way, as does using the chat to check in on things.  You might even want to consider using virtual team building tools like Brightful Meeting Games to help remote staff connect and collaborate more effectively.

It’s all about personal communication touches to help team members stay connected, feel part of the team, and stay abreast of the latest things.

Communication is not just important, it is critical to success!  For more tips on how to transition to successfully lead a remote team, check out this post.

Final Takeaway

Take some time and evaluate your remote team communication today!  Are you using the 3 T’s?  What do you need to strengthen?  Remember, the video podcast has the full details and you get to see my body language!

That’s a wrap this time!

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Why the Halftime theme Mike? 

I’m an Indiana Hoosier native where basketball is the top sport. Every team heads to the locker room at halftime to evaluate the first half and create an updated plan for the second half. That plan includes adjustments based on reviewing what worked and what didn’t. The “halftime” is a key review point where the game stops, the team pulls away to huddle in the locker room away from the fans, and they come out prepared and ready to succeed in the second half.

That’s what this podcast is all about, taking the time to pull away for a bit to evaluate, learn, and set some strategies for your business to succeed in the second half. Join me by subscribing and let me be your “business halftime” to help you find great success going forward!

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